From one museum to another

Museum of Northwest Colorado gives items to Wyman Living History Ranch and Museum

A county shed exposed to the weather and home to a number of birds might not be the best place to display the machinery that first broke ground in Moffat County, and that's why Museum of Northwest Colorado Director Dan Davidson decided to take action.

Davidson is seeking approval from county commissioners today to transfer 21 items in storage in a county building at the Moffat County Fairgrounds, to the Wyman Living History Ranch and Museum east of Craig.

"Some things are heavily rusted," Davidson said. "We're just not doing justice to the items stored out there."

A roof over the equipment and open sides to the building were meant to display the machinery to the public, but the remote location, along with intrusions by weather and birds have made the displays less than ideal.

The equipment consists of mostly farm machinery that was pulled by horses in the early days of mechanized farming. Horse-drawn plows manufactured by John Deere and Emerson, mowers made by McCormick and Deering, an International Harvester grain drill and a Sulky rake are among the items being offered to the Wyman museum.

There are two sagebrush rakes made by Lindstrom, a Craig manufacturer that had a number of employees producing the rakes locally.

Davidson said the Wyman museum, owned by Lou Wyman, specializes in this kind of equipment and that the staff there is experienced at presenting interpretations on early farming techniques.

"It was a huge win to get Wyman's museum in Moffat County," Davidson said. "What they display promotes the county, and may get people to stay in town longer as tourists."

This is the first transfer of items between the museums, and Davidson hopes the exchange will lead to a better understanding of Moffat County history.

The downtown museum helps the Wyman museum with research on local individuals, but its display space is limited when it comes to large items.

Included in the transfer is a soda fountain that once operated in a store in the now defunct town of Axial. The transfer also will include a refrigerator that is powered by burning kerosene, and two, large boilers from an irrigation system on Big Bottom Ranch.

Davidson said the Museum of Northwest Colorado contacted all the donators of items who could be reached to approve the transfer.

The museum also reserves the right to reclaim any items that Wyman no longer wishes to display at its site.

"We wanted to be really open and inform the public about the transferring of the equipment," Davidson said.

Lou Wyman was on the downtown museum's board of directors when it first opened, before creating his own museum, which opened this summer on the east side of Craig.

Davidson is hoping that the items on display will bring forth more information about the equipment's history and use in Moffat County.

Anyone with information regarding the antique farm equipment at the fairgrounds is invited to contact the Museum of Northwest Colorado at 824-6360.

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